Natural Born

Meet the avant-garde of the American natural-wine movement

The jury is still out on an accepted definition of natural wine–which, beyond employing wild yeast fermentation and some combination of organic or biodynamic farming, is hard to define anyway.

But that hasn't stopped American vintners from trying their hand at the kind of noninterventionist winemaking that's become popular with conscientious growers in France and Italy. These American wineries not only produce some of the best bottles we've tried, they're also upholding wine's oldest traditions–naturally.

Brick House Former CBS correspondent Doug Tunnell's vineyard in Newberg, Oregon, is certified organic and biodynamic, but it's his low-intervention winemaking that puts his wines in the natural category. Tunnell's obsessive labor in the vineyard translates to understated, elegant wines (click to buy online).

Broc Cellars Chris Brockway makes complex, honest California wines from varieties like Grenache and Mourvedre in a Berkeley warehouse. His embrace of techniques like native yeast fermentation has won props from natural-wine importer Joe Dressner (click to buy online).

Donkey & Goat While Tracey and Jared Brandt are hands-on in their Berkeley vineyard, they're strictly hands-off in the cellar where they age their distinctive Syrahs, Roussannes and Mouvredres (click to buy online).

Salinia Wine Company Kevin Kelley has turned his Santa Rosa, California, warehouse into a natural winemaker's studio where he crafts brisk, naturally fermented Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah from the cool Sonoma Coast (click to buy online).